So, on Saturday I was down in the Vaal, in a town called Veereniging on an exchange with Elder Acey. We were walking up this stairwell thing in the CBD, and for those who aren't accustomed to 'cbd's' in South Africa, I'm sorry there's no adequate way to describe it.
Anyways we took occasion to stop a couple of 17 year old South Africans who were coming down from the stairs, they seemed pretty sweet. We got talking to them about the Book of Mormon and all that jazz, and while I was busy with my arms extended, with a book of mormon in one hand and my bible in the other, trying to paint a picture how they were written on opposite sides of the world, by way of inspiration of the same God etc., I saw a full on ninja-looking decked out Muslim lady come through the shanty corridor up the rickety stairwell. I quickly pulled my arms back together and threw my bible back in my bag, just out of respect or fear or something like that; And like all of us were super quiet. And we stepped out of the way forming a sort of a tunnel to allow the lady to walk through. You couldn't see anything but the slit revealing her eyes.
Anyways, for those of you who know me well, know that I have this super cynical, criticizing mind, that analyzes and doubts and picks and tears at things in the spiritual realm. And even after months and months on a mission, I guess if I'm totally real, I still have questions and always just wanna know that God is really there for sure and that He does love me and has a genuine, warm, human personality and knows and feels and understands etc. etc. That His Son is really Jesus, and that Jesus is everything that the Bible purports him to be; That he appeared to a 14 year old boy named Joseph in a special grove of trees in the year 1820, etc etc.
Now back to the story:
So, as this Muslim lady walks past, I've already put my bible away and I was just like "Salam", which is 'hello' in their language, and as she gets further from us up the stairs Elder Acey breaks the silence by continuing the conversation:
"So, about The Book of Mormon"
.. i'll never forget that lady stop dead in her tracks, flip 180 and look us square in the faces, and say "THE BOOK OF MORMON? DID YOU SAY THE BOOK OF MORMON? That is the greatest book God ever has caused to be written."
she then walked back down to our level and in her middle east accent was like "You have your Bible, and I have my Koran, but the Book of Mormon is something else. No other book has effected me like that book has. I still remember finding a copy in my grandmother's bookshelf when I was 22 years old (she was now easy 40's or 50's), and I read and read that book and that book is 100% spot-on prophecy. It's a shame that I lost it years ago. Do you guys know where I can get the Book of Mormon?"
As you can guess, me and Elder Acey LITERALLY were standing with our mouths hung open. Like Literally, my mouth was wide open, and so were the two kids behind us that we were talking to. There mouths were wide open. And as a knife through the silence, one of the kids behind us pointed at the lady, wide eyed and said the obvious: "That lady is a living testimony"
lol it was so epic. She took all the book of mormons that we had, and wanted to keep them in her safe so she'd never be without it again. It was wild eish. Before she turned to go up the stairs we got all her contact details, and she pointed at the kids and was like 'You guys are so lucky.'
Anyways, I guess I get constantly re-affirmed that this is true, and I ought to quit toying and giving reverence to the ideas that surface occasionally through my brain that this is all some kind of mind game.
Well, that's one thing I remember from this week. Sorry, still not brave enough to take any pictures yet. I'll work on that this next week. Love you guys.
Elder Tanner Noah Clegg
Hey guys I just had like two more cool things happen that I just remembered
We're teaching this Pakistani family family (eish I've been in the middle east this week), they are getting baptized this next sunday. You'd never believe it, but Nazia, the mom- just had a baby boy and they named him Heleman. From Hindu to Heleman.
And I just had like some kind of epitome today. Not sure if it was the crazy blue sky (I'm telling you I've never seen a sky as blue as it was today), or what, but I was just thinking of why on earth I came here to South Africa and why I'm still here and all that jazz that missioanries probably often think about.
And then just a rogue floodgate of emotion nailed me, and for the first time in 20 months, the 'missionary purpose' made sense to me. That boring lame sentance thing that you quote all the time actually made sense. I came here to help people have faith in Jesus Christ. How cool is that? I came here to help them repent, to change their lives, to be Baptized, to recieve the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. Like it made sense for a brief second in time today when I was just thinking for a bit. I came here to show people how they can RETURN TO LIVE WITH GOD! Could there be anything cooler or more important? Than showing someone HOW TO GET BACK TO GOD? Over 52 something million people live in this country, and I'm one of a force of about maybe 400 tops acrossed the whole country, showing them the only way back to God. And I honestly don't really get why it has to be this way. It's like I'm holding an octopus and telling people that if you rub it on your face it will make you grow wings and be able to fly. Why do I have the read the book of mormon and believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet to return to live with God? I don't know honestly, why it's that way. And maybe it's not totally that way. But you have to try it to be able to know for yourself, and I guess that's the difficult thing.
It was weird for the Pharisee's and Saducess and generally all the Israelites living in Palestine to believe that they had to stop practicing the Mosaic law and follow a new and 'better' covenant instituted by this carpenter's son named Jesus.
Rewind a bit further, it was weird, when the children of Israel, being inflamed with the venom of the 'fiery serphants' were told by some guy named Moses that if they would merely 'cast their eyes about' and look at some statue he had put on the end of a stick, they would be healed.
So why should it be any different in this dispensation?
Anyways. Sorry this is all I can think of. I wish wish I had pictures. Love you.